Lockdown is resulting in plummeting print newspaper sales in the UK. Advertising revenue is also declining as advertisers block ads from appearing in articles that mention the Covid-19 pandemic.

Publishers are taking action including furloughing staff, postponing titles, and cutting pay in an attempt to ride out the crisis. These measures may help in the short-term, but in the long-term newspapers will struggle to withstand the economic fallout from the pandemic.

Covid-19 lockdown dampening copy sales

In the week following lockdown on 23 March, newspaper copy sales fell by as much as 30%.

With advice being that people should only shop for essential products and with social distancing measures in place in stores and supermarkets across the UK, footfall has fallen. This has resulted in thousands of independent newsagents closing, while supermarkets are expected to reduce the number of newspapers they stock.

Newspaper readership in decline

Print newspaper readership has been in decline for many years. According to MarketLine data, print copy sales in the UK declined with a CARC of -8.3% between 2015 and 2019.

Looking to the future, all markets and industries are likely to be affected. Spending on advertising is likely to be curbed as the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic grips the country.

Newspaper publishers will have to implement strategies to improve readership levels and entice advertisers. It is unlikely that any newspapers will escape the effects of the pandemic unscathed.

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